Speak Up! Seeks Participants & Coaches in Illinois

Speak UpThe Speak Up! program engages individuals with lived experience of homelessness and provides the tools and support necessary to cultivate personal development, advocacy, and leadership skills. Speak Up! focuses on four areas of development: empowerment, leadership, storytelling and engagement.

We are seeking current or former tenants of supportive housing to participate in Speak Up! and help advocate for supportive housing in Illinois and across the country!

CSH is also looking for volunteer “coaches” to work with our participants to hone their story and practice their presentation skills.


  • Informative and interactive training sessions that include expert guest speakers
  • Local advocacy events
  • One-on-one meetings with a coach (outside of training sessions) to enhance storytelling skills by brainstorming and practicing. These meetings are not mandatory, but highly encouraged.
  • For the first half of the program, create a story that is 5-8 minutes long
  • For the second half of the program, shorten the story to 2-3 minutes long and just as effective

305_Speak Up 1_16Benefits: Gaining skills in leadership, community engagement, advocacy, and storytelling. After graduating from a Speak Up! series, participants are frequently asked to speak for other organizations and groups. For example, after an advocate was seen speaking at the CSH 2016 Summit, he was asked to speak at the annual National Alliance to End Homelessness conference the following month. Not only does Speak Up! provide professional development to tenants but, it takes it a step further by offering networking and potential opportunities post-graduation.

When & Where:
The training program will be held from January to July, 2017, and advocates should be able to devote a minimum of 5-6 hours a month. All sessions will take place at the CSH office,  205 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL 60606, 23rd FL. Bus tickets will be provided to get to and from the site.

Interested? Please view and share our flyers and be in touch!

Speak Up IL Flyer – Supportive Housing Tenants

Speak Up IL Flyer – Coaches

Questions? Contact Ashlen Olmsted at ashlen.Olmsted@csh.org or call 312-332-6690 ext. 2827

Everybody Worries About Me

Everybody Worries About Me

The second e-book in the series of Annie’s stories — Everybody Worries About Me — is now available. This e-book conveys how Annie tackles every-day chores and problems. It explains her concerns and those of her parents and friends, and, most importantly, how she has learned to overcome challenges to take control of her life and live independently. The series of stories about Annie is proudly supported by CSH, the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives, and Annie’s family and friends. View and hear the new e-book in this series by clicking here!

Annie's family

New E-Book: Living In My Own Home

Family RoomSupportive housing helps many people with different life stories. We at CSH believe that with the right supports, anyone can live independently in their own home in the community of their choice.

We worked with Annie and her support network to create an e-book that demonstrates this very point.

The listener is walked through the personal story of how Annie lives a highly integrated life filled with friends, family, paid work, volunteering, and a host of meaningful and enjoyable activities.

The book is narrated by Vicki Niswander, the proud mother of Annie and also the Director of the Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives.

Click here to be transported into the story of Annie. Celebrate her success and visualize how you or someone you know and care about also can access the affordable housing and the right supports to live in the community they choose.

Annie is a gift to us. The ability to tell her life story through this new e-book is made possible by a grant funded by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Speak Up in Illinois

More Voices for Supportive Housing

IL Speak Up

The inaugural class of the CSH Speak Up program in Illinois, ready to carry the message that supportive housing works!

Twelve new supportive housing advocates will graduate this Saturday from the inaugural class of the CSH Illinois Speak Up program. Speak Up is a CSH initiative operating in California, and now Illinois, designed to give formerly homeless individuals in supportive housing access to public platforms so they can tell their personal “before and after” stories. Speak Up advocates who graduate our program are prepared to discuss the transformative power of supportive housing before state legislators, Congresspeople, foundations, business organizations and other policymakers. An excellent behinds-the-scene look at Speak Up in Illinois appeared last month in a magazine published by Roosevelt University in Chicago. Roosevelt graduate Archy Jamjun shares his experience working with our advocates in the article “Telling the Tale” (p42) authored by Laura Janota.

Subcontracting Opportunity: Coordinated Access System Navigation in Chicago

Due May 11, 2016


CSH is seeking subcontractors to provide support to Veteran households and households experiencing chronic homelessness in need of coordinated access system navigation support. Subcontractors provide direct services to households that have been assessed with a coordinated access tool and matched to a permanent housing provider. The System Navigators (SN) will work collaboratively with the Ending Veterans Homelessness Initiative (EVHI) and partners to implement strategies to end veteran homelessness by the end of the year. SN may also provide support to initiatives ending homelessness for vulnerable populations.  Funding is provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Emergency Solutions Grant Program through the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.

Planned Activities

  • Search for and engage households who have been assessed and received a housing match.
  • Provide support to households in meeting housing provider requirements, inclusive of attending housing intake meetings, attainment of homelessness and/or disability documentation.
  • Complete coordinated access assessments, as needed.

Expected Deliverables

Deliverable 1: Provide system navigation activities to homeless households with a housing match.

Deliverable 2: Participate in system integration team meetings and work collaboratively with initiative partners.

Deliverable 3: Maintain and report data on system navigation activities.

Funding Available

A total of $300,000 is available for this project. Subcontracts will not exceed $100,000 and will have an end date of December 31, 2016. Agencies may include expenses for travel and equipment. Subcontractors will bill CSH at an hourly rate, not to exceed $125/hour.  No increment above cost can be included in the hourly rate provided to CSH and the hourly rate must be consistent with the best (lowest) customary rate that has been negotiated with other clients.  Selected subcontractors will be required to provide evidence of past compensation consistent with the rate provided to CSH.

Application Process and Vendor Requirements

Agencies will need the capacity to enter and receive information from Chicago’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Training to selected agencies will be provided.

CSH will hold a Q&A session about this subcontracting opportunity on Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 at 1:00 pm. The session will be held at CSH – 205 W. Randolph, 23rd Floor; Chicago, IL 60606.

To apply for this opportunity email Christine Haley at christine.haley@csh.org for an application, and the application will be due on May 11th,  2016 at 5:00pm CST.

Applications received before the deadline will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated successful performance of substantially similar work
  • Relevant project work
  • Experience and expertise
  • Years of relevant experience
  • Rate reasonableness and overall cost of services

Please note that CSH requires subcontractors, including individuals and sole proprietors, to carry workers’ compensation insurance while performing work under a CSH subcontract. CSH subcontractors cannot have existing, pending or expired debarments that preclude them from doing business with the United States government and cannot have convictions for, nor have any pending indictments for, fraud or a criminal offense in connection with a public contract or subcontract.

New CSH-Designed Workbook Helps Locate Housing Options

As part of our ongoing program work in Illinois, and with the support of the Illinois Council for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ICDD), CSH has developed a Supportive Housing Workbook for People with Developmental Disabilities and their Families.

This Workbook assists families as they move through the process of selecting an ideal affordable housing setting and matching it to the person-centered support services needed to live independently. After understanding what type of housing could be right, the family can determine if it is available locally or in another community.

If the appropriate housing does not exist, this Workbook lays out a strategy families can follow to make sure developers create housing that works for their family member as well as other families in the local community. This includes an explanation of steps to unite and create the required coalitions and grass-roots support that drive developers and service providers toward creation of the appropriate housing.

The Workbook also includes helpful information about supportive housing. Families impacted by intellectual or developmental disabilities are excited when they learn supportive housing is a viable option and are eager for it to be included in the array of housing and services available to their family members.

Click here to access the Workbook.


Illinois Supportive Housing Academy

Announcing the Illinois Supportive Housing Academy

May 2 – May 4, 2016

401 S. Clinton, Chicago, IL

Illinois Supportive Housing Academy – $200 – 3 Full Days of Training with Box Lunches each day

The Academy is focused on developing integrated supportive housing. It is designed for individual team members of a development group. Each member of the team will learn simultaneous steps to assist in the creation of a successful group project. This particular academy will focus on Olmstead populations and creating mixed income housing with supportive housing set asides.

Illinois Supportive Housing Site Visit – $50 – Bus Tour of 3 Supportive Housing Sites with Discussion

The Academy also is offering a site visit to meet tenants, other developers and providers, and showcase supportive housing in action.

Illinois Supportive Housing Academy and Site Visit – $225 – Both the Tour and the Academy are Included in This Package ( Best Value! )

Questions? Contact John Fallon at 312-332-6690 ext. 21.

Support Illinois HB 4955 – Restore Funding for Homeless & Housing Programs

Advocate for affordable & supportive housing funding in Illinois

Many organizations in Illinois have been operating without funding since July 1, 2015, and are at risk of closing their doors to the vulnerable people they serve.

Illinois House Bill 4955, introduced on February 5, 2016, would  fully restore funding to FY2015 levels for affordable housing and supportive housing programs for people who have experienced homelessness. These critical programs include:

  • Abandoned Residential Property Municipality Relief Fund
  • Affordable Housing Trust Fund
  • Assistance to the Homeless Fund
  • Federal HOME Investment Partnership Program Fund
  • Foreclosure Prevention Graduated Program Fund
  • Foreclosure Prevention Program Fund
  • Health and Human Services Trust Fund (Permanent Supportive Housing and DMH Bridge Subsidy Program)


 Please call your Representative and ask him or her to support HR 4955

To find your representative, click here and type in your zip code.


The bill includes appropriations for:

Homeless Prevention                                                                      $1,000,000

Homeless Youth Services                                                               $4,598,100

*Supportive Housing Services (homeless)                                 $13,738,500

Homeless Youth Services                                                               $1,000,000

Homelessness Prevention                                                              $3,000,000

Emergency and Transitional Housing                                         $9,383,700

*Supportive Housing Services                                                       $3,382,500

Assistance to the Homeless                                                            $300,000

*Supportive MI Housing                                                                 $15,915,800

*Special Projects and Bridge Subsidy                                           $34,450,000

Rental and Housing Support Program                                         $1,600,000

Rental and Housing Support Program                                         $4,100.000

Affordable Housing                                                                          $65,000,000